Three years ago today our wee Alex William slipped away from us.
Even though it has been three years since we lost him (and nine months earlier our girl, Jessie Joy) I still hesitate before I answer the question, how many kids do you have? We have three here with us but in my heart I am a mother of five.
I'd wager that nearly every woman who has experienced the loss of a pregnancy or the trauma of a still birth has the same hesitation when answering that question. For us, its not a miscarriage, its the death of a child and all the hopes and dreams that go with it.
From the moment most women even suspect they are pregnant the dreaming begins. Will it be a girl with downy soft curls and a sweet smile or a rambunctious little guy with his dad's killer smile? Will this one be the quiet one who is born potty trained, likes to clean and prefers a good book to a noisy toy or will this one be like the other ones, crazy, busy, loud and hilarious? We daydream about staring into their squinty little face for the first time and recognizing them because they belong to us.
And when something goes wrong, when we never get the chance to feel their baby breath on our necks as we cuddle them in the night, they still belong to us. They are still with us at holidays, birthday parties and in family pictures. They are a shadow and a light that dance through our lives and live in our hearts. They are a part of us.
This kind of loss is never easy to talk about. Sometimes there's a stigma attached to it and often it makes people feel uncomfortable. But its okay. Its okay to remember and honour all your children. Its okay to talk about them and its okay to miss them. Its okay to say their name and dream of the person they might have been.
After we lost Jessie I had a dream. I was standing at an open window overlooking a summer meadow. The wind was dancing through the trees and causing the wild flowers to sway and bob. Everything was green and lush and light. As I looked more closely I could see that the meadow was full of children. They were laughing and running and playing together and in the midst of them one little girl caught my eye. She had shoulder length golden brown hair that glistened in the sun as she twirled among the tall grass and flowers. I didn't see her face but I recognized her. She belonged to me.
That's the place I think of when I remember Jessie and Alex. That's the place I know they are safe and happy and waiting to meet me one day when I am old and gray. Anyway, today I just wanted you to know that I have five kids. Dude, Crafty, Mischief, Jessie and Alex.
I'm Jessie and Alex's mom too.